TK's Sleater-Kinney pages

TK's Sleater-Kinney pages

Mon, 11 July 2005
"Youth Decay" I think it's the archetypical S-K song

My favorite song is whatever I'm listening to at the moment. The one that plays most in my head is "Youth Decay." I think it's the archetypical S-K song packed into 2:30. One of many great original songs. Who else can produce so many songs like this?

It's a little rough and ragged. The vocals are charmingly unpolished. It has Carrie freight-training her riffs. All three sing. It has 3 1/2 different moods.

The vocals start at the first beat (Think "All My Loving" by the Beatles). It seems like they are going to leave without you and you have to run to catch up with the song.

Carrie's absolutely original riff bubbles along through the verse where the vocals, partly spoken, have attitude. There is pre-chorus riff.

The mood changes for the chorus with power chords and flamethrower trilling vocals with octave harmony. Also original: the chorus is six bars long, rare in rock (or anywhere else). It would be math rock if it weren't so perfect. It lands us back in the verse a bit before we expect.

The mood swings in another direction for the bridge with an ethereal vocal that harmonizes with a simple riff for the first two bars. It makes me think I'm getting a chance to catch up with the song. Then the "praying" voice plays against another batch of original Carrie riffs, changing moods again and picking up momentum.

Finally the song outros by repeating the chorus with a final vocal twist. At the end it's like hitting a brick wall just at the right time. S-K songs end - they don't fade out.

The bridge always "gets" me and I always get a lift when the verse returns after the bridge.

S-K songs don't overstay, they usually leave you satisfied but wanting a little more.

When I get time I'd better do a more complete job of the Youth Decay guitar tab.

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Copyright (c) 2002 Terry Kearns. All rights reserved.